By BRETT MARSHALL
Nine days earlier, the Ulysses boys golf team had competed in the Garden City Invitational at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
As the smallest school in the 10-team field, the Tigers had come to meet up with all Class 5 and 6A schools. And they played like the small school in the field by finishing ninth with a score of 356.
But on Monday, while playing on the same golf course against a mostly Class 3-2-1A field, the Tigers roared like the king of the golf jungle.
Coach Jack Wolf's squad used the 1-2-3 finish of Brady Buxman (77), Anthony Delcorral (79) and Jacob Mendoza (80, tied for third) en route to an 11-shot victory over 2010 Class 1A state champion Ashland.
Buxman, a junior, led the Tigers to a 324 total while Ashland was second at 335. Southwestern Heights, Garden City's junior varsity and Lakin rounded out the top five teams with scores of 340, 348 and 349.
"I had a bad start the other tournament here," Buxman said of his round of 80 in the Garden City event. "I was seven-over-par after four holes. I didn't start that way today."
Wolf said the return of Mendoza, who missed that earlier tournament, was a big key for his team's success.
"We've got a number of players who can step up and be the low guy," Wolf said. "Now, we just need to find that fifth and sixth player to give us more depth."
After the gold-silver-bronze medal finish of his top three it was another eight shots back to Jonah Pfingsten's 88 as the final counting score for the Tigers.
"The short game is where I've gotten better," Buxman said when asked about his game's improvement in the early portion of the season. "It's both putting and chipping."
In Monday's round, Buxman had a pair of birdies on his scorecard, making a two-footer at the short par-4 second and then a 10-footer on the par-3, 12th. He knocked a 60-degree wedge into the second hole and then drilled an 8-iron on the 12th.
"Overall, my game was steady today," Buxman said. "I wouldn't call it a great round, but definitely pretty solid."
His only major mishap occurred at the long 16th, a par-5 of 550 yards where he double bogeyed.
"I just hit it into the gunch (tall native grass) off the tee, got back out and then hit a good shot to the green but then missed the putts."
Wolf said his team had been working diligently on the short game during practice and Monday's performance showed how that was paying off.
"I think everybody played better today," Wolf said. "We're just looking to improve each time we play, and I think this shows the kids have been coming along and progressing."
Ingalls' Michael Thompson and Scott City's Justin Unruh shot 82s to tie for fifth. Garden City's JV squad was paced by junior Braden Taylor's 83.
For the winning Tigers, they will get another measure of their improvement when they travel on Thursday for the 3 p.m. Dodge City Invitational at Mariah Hills Golf Course to once again meet up with the bigger schools.
"We just want to be more competitive and we'll see how we do with the big boys on at Dodge," Wolf said. "We'll just wait and see how this transfers over to playing at that higher level of competition."
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.